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DK Barrels, alternatively spelled DK barrels and also named Buddy Barrels or Kong Barrels, are a type of Barrel that appear in almost every level of the Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land series. They are identifiable from the red and yellow "DK" letters on its side. If the two Kongs are together and the lead one is hit by an enemy or an obstacle, that Kong runs away; the player takes control of the other Kong. When a Kong finds a DK Barrel, they can pick it up and throw it to reunite with the other Kong.
Donkey Kong Country / Donkey Kong Land trilogy
If a DK Barrel is on the ground, it can be picked up and thrown like a normal Barrel, although like Vine Barrels, DK Barrels break upon impact with the ground. As such, most enemies can be defeated when a DK Barrel is thrown at them. If a Kong is without their partner and they touch a DK Barrel that is either in mid-air or underwater, the DK Barrel breaks open and releases the other Kong. In the first three Donkey Kong Country games, after a Kong is released from a DK Barrel, they follow behind the Kong in front.
In the backstory for Donkey Kong Country, Diddy was ambushed by Kremlings while he was guarding the banana hoard. He is sealed into a DK Barrel and thrown into the jungle. The first DK Barrel of Jungle Hijinxs is presumably the one that Diddy was trapped into due to it being the closest DK Barrel to the banana hoard.
Most DK Barrels in Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest and Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! are found in mid-air, so they cannot be picked up. If both Kongs are in play, they pass through both mid-air and underwater DK Barrels. In Donkey Kong Land 2 and Donkey Kong Land III, all DK Barrels are found in mid-air. In the former game are DK Barrels found in treasure chests which can be picked up like normal Barrels.
Certain cheat codes in the sequels can affect the availability of DK Barrels. In Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest, from the mode selection menu, the player can highlight the hidden Cheat Mode and enter a combination of buttons to remove every DK Barrel: ,,,,,,,; in that game's Game Boy Advance remake, the WELLARD cheat removes all DK Barrels, and the ROCKARD cheat removes all DK Barrels and Star Barrels. In Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, the HARDR cheat only removes some of the DK Barrels, and the TUSFT cheat removes all DK Barrels (if used on a new save file) and Star Barrels; in the Game Boy Advance version, the TUFFER cheat removes all DK Barrels and Star Barrels on a new game save file. In all applicable games, if DK Barrels are disabled, every level automatically starts with both Kongs.
DK: Jungle Climber
DK Barrels also appear in DK: Jungle Climber, with the same role as in the first Donkey Kong Country and Donkey Kong Land games.
Donkey Kong Country Returns / Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D
DK Barrels return in Donkey Kong Country Returns and Donkey Kong Country Returns 3D where they have the same functions as before. In this game, they are always found on the ground and can be thrown, which is the only way to break them. If Diddy is already present when a DK Barrel is tossed, the barrel instead restores Donkey Kong's health if it is not full.
In the multiplayer mode, if a player has been killed, then they can spend an Extra Life Balloon to float back into the level inside a DK Barrel. Alternatively, the remaining player can revive them by finding a barrel that is already in the level. DK Barrels also appear in Mirror Mode, but since Diddy Kong cannot be used in this mode, the barrels are empty, even though they can still be used as a projectile weapon.
Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze
DK Barrels return in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze and its Nintendo Switch port, functioning just like they did in Donkey Kong Country Returns. With the addition of Dixie Kong and Cranky Kong, the barrels come in four new variations — a Diddy Kong Barrel marked with a blue "DD" instead of the usual red "DK", a Dixie Kong Barrel marked with a pink "DX", a Cranky Kong Barrel with a yellow "CK", and another one which contains all three spinning in a roulette-like manner. The former three rarely appear in levels, but can be purchased at Funky's Fly 'n' Buy, while the latter barrel is far more common. With it, Donkey Kong is able to choose his partner, by picking it up at the moment the desired Kong's insignia appears (or by corkscrewing into it, if it is underwater). Alternatively, he can ground pound in front of it in order to temporarily stop it in place.
Normal DK Barrels only appear during co-op and Hard Mode, in the latter case since Donkey Kong only has one heart and is not assisted by the other Kongs. However, he can still use the DK Barrel as a weapon. In multiplayer mode, the second player can choose which of the partner Kongs to play as (Diddy, Dixie, or Cranky).
In the Nintendo Switch port, a fifth variety of a DK Barrel appears due to Funky Kong's inclusion as a playable character, but only in the Funky Mode, as partners cannot be used in it. Funky Kong's barrel is marked with a purple "FK", and can only be used to restore health and kill enemies.
Appearances in Mario titles
In Mario Party 7, three DK Barrels are in front of DK's Tree House in the background of some Donkey Kong minigames, such as Jump, Man and Vine Country, with two being on the left and one on the right.
In Mario Kart 7, DK Barrels appear on the jungle section of DK Jungle, where they are located on the sides of the track. They contain Bananas and Stars that are revealed by destroying the barrels with Green Shells, or by colliding with them at a high speed.
A DK Barrel appears as a Donkey Kong's Skill Effect in Dr. Mario World.
Appearances in other titles
In the Super Smash Bros. series, Donkey Kong and Diddy Kong enter stages by bursting out of DK Barrels. One also appears as a Sticker in Super Smash Bros. Brawl and as a trophy in Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U.
One of the collectables Kirby can find in Kirby Super Star's "The Great Cave Offensive" mode is the "Kong's Barrel." It returns in the remake, Kirby Super Star Ultra. It is found in a room guarded by two Gordos in the Garden Area. The Kong's Barrel is worth 1,500 Gold.
A DK Barrel is a token piece that can be used in Nintendo Monopoly.
Donkey Kong Country
Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!
Super Smash Bros. Brawl sticker
Super Smash Bros. for Nintendo 3DS / Wii U trophy
Names in other languages